One of my favorite summertime rituals is to make huge batches of pesto, freeze it into smaller serving-size portions, and enjoy it all winter long. This summer, the basil in my mother’s garden was not nearly as plentiful as usual, and was scarce at the local farmers markets as well. The speculation was extreme heat and not enough rain. When it came time for me to make pesto to stock up for the winter, I panicked when I saw a few measly, sun-burnt basil plants in the garden. No more blissful reminders of summer’s bounty to get me through the dreadful arctic weather we experience in the northeast?!
So, here we are with this wintry version of basil pesto. The kale makes this pesto more robust, which is perfect for the winter months, and parsley is a wonderful herbal variation to basil. I kept the pine nuts and cheese, which are staples in classic pesto. This recipe is so versatile – it can be used with any kind of pasta, swirled into risotto, as a topping for pizza, or used as a condiment on just about anything.
- 1 bunch curly kale
- 12 parsley sprigs – tough stems removed
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- (Shown here topped with ricotta salata)
Remove any large, tough stems from the kale, and chop it into 2-inch pieces. Place it in a food processor, or blender, and add the parsley, garlic, toasted pine nuts, and salt. Pulse everything together a few times, and then with the motor running, slowly stream in the olive oil until it forms a creamy paste. Stir in the grated parmesan cheese, and taste for seasoning.